The priorities for me were:
- Portability - it needed to be able disassemble / fold for minimum space & storage into my tight locker room
- Lightness - weight was an issue for transportation / use
- Cheap - wanted to re-use waste wood for ecological and cost reasons.
So I set up planning a design after checking out sample pics on the web. The ones at the Canoe Museum were "Dumbhead" style that worked on a lever built into the centre of the bench as opposed to "English" style that had a frame style vise which would be more cumbersome while working on a long paddle. Furthermore, most designs I saw required permanent fastening with wood screws that prevented any form of foldability. This wasn't feasible in my limited workspace. But while contemplating ideas to get around this dilemma, I came across a large industrial door hinge left over from another project when looking for tools & scrap materials for the build. The hinge would be the answer I was looking for.
As luck would have it, I had purchased some plastic sawhorse brackets from Home Depot earlier in the month to make a portable sawhorse for use on the balcony, but then scored a great deal at Canadian Tire for 2 folding metal sawhorse ($8.99 each - normally $34.99!). So the brackets sat unused until deciding to use them for the horse. With some old 2x6 and 2x4s, the industrial door hinge, and the brackets I ended up constructing the basic design.
For the anvil, I had some 1x3 and pressure treated lumber scraps that I screwed together. The base was made with some more scraps joined together to form a foot pedal that attached with some 3 inch carriage bolts found in a bucket full of old nails & screws. To fit the completed vise on the horse, I ended up drilling 4 pilot holes in the 2x6 and cutting out a rectangular slot with a coping saw.
Once disassemble and packed, the whole horse takes up little space. The parts fit nicely on the frame and with a couple of velcro straps, everything can be easily transported. Assembly is easy too. The anvil is held in place with a 6" carriage bolt.
The height & angle of the workbench can be adjusted with a scrap piece of wood wedged under it. It is held in place no problem once some foot pressure is applied to the vice. So the door hinge idea worked
The final product
Taking the horse for a ride
Overall, I'm quite happy with it. Pretty low cost & labour given that the materials were lying around anyway. The one mistake I made was making the slot for the anvil too wide and as a result, the anvil leans to one side when pressed down with the foot pedal. I'm now working on a solution (a better anvil) using a thicker maple scrap piece cut from making the maple white water paddle this past summer. More on that "upgrade" later.